THE MINING department needs to immediately stop the use of Foreign Consultants to review the 1992 Mining Act and its policies, says President of the Resource Owners Federation of PNG. President Jonathan Paraia claims that the use of such consultants in the past has deprived the country and citizens of a fair return in royalties, equity and other benefits from mining their mineral deposits. He is making this call to the government and adding that the laws and policies have been written to benefit the foreign investors at the expenses of the citizens. “This is why the country has been and continues to be branded as an "impoverished watershed", when it is richly blessed with natural resources. “Our Political leaders and civil servants are either incompetent or blind to continually use foreign consultants even when such practice is prohibited by the National Goals and Directive Principals of our National Constitution. “Section 279 subsection 3 of the Constitution among others call for the "strict control of foreign investment capitol and wise assessment of foreign ideas and values so that these will be subordinate to the goal of national sovereignty and self -reliance. In a statement, Mr Paraia stated that The Minister and Secretary of Mining must now explain to the nation the reasons for their continued use of foreign consultants to review the 1992 Mining Act and Policies. “Knowing that the use of such consultants in the past has deprived the nation and its citizens of fair social and economic benefits arising from almost all the mining projects in this Nation. “They must explain why they have not been able to exclusively use our own citizens to carry out the consultancy work in reviewing the legislation, when we have thousands of qualified citizens after 37 years of Independence and education,” he said. He said the consequence of the actions of the Mining Department is evident in the results of the work produced by the Consultants. “For example: the amended Mining Act proposes to lock mineral royalty rates at 2% again while current mineral royalty rates in other countries in Asia Pacific region average at above 10%. “The rate of 2% has been locked in the Mining Act since 1992, whilst common practice in other countries is to adjust these rates when economic conditions change,” Mr Paraia stated. He said the amended Act further proposes that equity participation by landowners and Provincial governments be maintained at 5% each. He said any conduct by them that breaches the constitution of this country, as is the case by their use of foreign Consultants, is what the federation believes is a breach of the Constitution and amounts to a misconduct in Public office. The Federation has also made submissions on behalf of landowners in the country, but we have not been given a copy of the draft legislation for review. Why is it still a secret? “We call on all MP’s not to vote for any amendment that denies this country and its citizens of fair social and economic returns for the extraction of minerals from our soils,” he said
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